Jacob Mani and his wife Soma have a bond that has endured, but now they share an even deeper connection.

The couple’s story began 32 years ago in South India, where they were arranged to be married among their closest friends and family members.

The couple reminisced about their first meeting and shared heart-warming sentiments. “I remember thinking he was so handsome,” Soma recalled. “And I remember thinking she was the most beautiful woman in the world,” Jacob told Parkland Health, the hospital system where he works.

Six years later, the couple decided to move to the United States and relocate to Texas. The couple both worked as pharmacy technicians in the DFW area. Jacob and Soma raised three girls and are now grandparents.

Jacob encountered some health issues in 2021 when he was diagnosed with COVID-19. Jacob already had diabetes, making his case more serious. Eventually, he was sent to the Intensive Care Unit. While hospitalized, Jacob and his family learned of additional complications concerning his kidneys, per Parkland Health.

After a long fight and recovery from COVID-19, Jacob was hospitalized again a little over a year later for kidney failure. Jacob’s kidney function was between 12% and 5%, he told WFAA. Jacob received a recommendation from his doctors for a preemptive transplant, which has many benefits if performed with a live donor. Some benefits include a shorter wait to find a donor, finding a better genetic match (if the kidney is received from a family member), and a longer-lasting kidney that functions better, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

However, finding a live donor who matches often proves challenging. In order for the transplant to be successful, both the recipient and donor must have the same blood type, the donor must be healthy before the transplant procedure, and the recipient cannot create antibodies that combat the donor’s kidney, as reported by WFAA.

“After the initial conversation in the hospital that he would need a kidney transplant, God placed it on my mind and heart to donate my kidney to my husband,” Soma told Parkland Health.

Soma was found to be a compatible donor for her husband after the couple’s daughters and Jacob’s brother were found to be incompatible donors. Soma quickly took to adapting her routines and lifestyle to be the healthiest that she could for the transplant.

The donor and transplant procedures took place on November 8, 2023, and both Jacob and Soma have made a full recovery. Jacob returned to work earlier this year on March 16, 2024, per Parkland Health.

“It’s very impactful to see how someone’s altruism translates into a direct benefit to someone else’s health, especially someone they care deeply about,” shared Joe Lockridge, MD, medical director of Kidney Transplantation at Parkland, and an associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center.